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Yankee Monikers and Nicknames, How They Got That Way


 By Dr. Harvey Frommer

Nom de plumes, aliases, sobriquets, catch words - nicknames, all time, all ways for Yankees. Through the decades sporting scribes, fans, friends and relatives, opponents and teammates have outdone themselves pinning nom de plumes, aliases, sobriquets, catch words - nick-names on Yankee personnel and experiences.


These have run the gamut, from apt to asinine, from complimentary to crude, from hero worshipping to hellacious, from amusing to amazing. Herewith, a sampler. 


Babe Ruth leads the pack in the number of nick-names attached to him.  Called "Babe" by teammates on the Baltimore Orioles, his first professional team because of his youth. Early on  he was also called “Infant Swatagy,” G.H.Ruth was also called "Jidge" by Yankee teammates, in German, short for George.


Opponents referred to him negatively as "The Big Monk" and "Monkey." He was also called "Two Head, a negative nick-name used by opponents to describe the size of his head which seemed very huge to some. They also called him a lot of unmentionables.


Sportswriters glamorizing the big guy came up with these monikers: “Home Run King,” "The Bambino", “Bammer,” “the Bam, ” "the Wali of Wallop", "the Rajah of Rap", "the Caliph of Clout", "the Wazir of Wham", "the Sultan of Swat",  "The Colossus of Clout,”  “Maharajah of Mash", "The Behemoth of Bust,” “Behemoth of Biff,” "The King of Clout" and the “Goliath of Grand Slams.” 


"The Babe" - George Herman Ruth leads off the list and pads it for most nick-names acquired. He called most players "Kid" because he couldn't remember the names of even his closest friends. 


In spring training 1927, Babe Ruth bet pitcher Wilcy Moore $l00 that he would not get more than three hits all season. A notoriously weak hitter, Moore somehow managed six hits in 75 at bats.  Ruth paid off his debt and Moore purchased two mules for his farm naming them "Babe" and "Ruth."


But enough of George Herman Ruth. Now onto the bon mots, aliases, expressions for all matter of Yankees:


A-Rod – Abbreviation for Alex Rodriguez.


“All American Out” – What Babe Ruth called Leo Durocher because of his limited hitting ability.


“Almighty Tired Man” - Mickey Rivers, for his slouching demeanor


"American Idle" - Carl Pavano was known as this because he could never stay on the field and stay healthy.


“An A-bomb from A-Rod” – classic home run call, John Sterling


“It is high, it is far.  It is gone!  The Yankees win. Thuuuuuuuuh Yankees win!”   -  another classic home run call, John Sterling  


"Battle of the Biltmore" - 1947 World Series celebration in Manhattan's Biltmore Hotel was a time and place where Larry MacPhail drunkenly fought with everyone ending his

Yankee ownership time.


"Babe Ruth's Legs" - Sammy Byrd, employed as pinch runner for Ruth and "Bam-Bam" for Hensley Meulens, able to speak about five languages, but had a challenging name for some to pronounce.


"Banty rooster" - Casey Stengel’s nickname for Whitey Ford because of his style and attitude.


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Just a sampling from The Ultimate Yankee Book, fall 2017

Pre-order from Amazon


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A link to purchase autographed copies of Frommer Sports Books is at:

You can reach Harvey Frommer at:   

Email:  harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU 

About the Author:

Written by acclaimed sports author and oral historian Dr. Harvey Frommer, with an introduction by pro football Hall of Famer Frank Gifford, When It Was Just a Game tells the fascinating story of the ground-breaking AFL–NFL World Championship Football game played on January 15, 1967: Packers vs. Chiefs. Filled with new insights, containing commentary from the unpublished memoir of Kansas City Chiefs coach Hank Stram, featuring oral history from many who were at the game—media, players, coaches, fans—the book is mainly in the words of those who lived it and saw it go on to become the Super Bowl, the greatest sports attraction the world has ever known. Archival photographs and drawings help bring the event to life.

Dr. Harvey Frommer, a professor at Dartmouth College, is in his 41st. year of writing books. The author of hundreds of articles and  43 sports books including the classics: best-selling New York City Baseball, 1947-1957 and best-selling “Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball ,the prolific Frommer also authored the acclaimed Remembering Yankee Stadium (second edition 2016) and best-selling Remembering Fenway Park..He is at work on “the Ultimate Yankee book” to be published in 2017.

Together with his wife Myrna Katz Frommer, he has written the acclaimed oral histories It Happened in the Catskills, It Happened in Brooklyn, Growing Up Jewish in America, It Happened on Broadway, It Happened in Manhattan, It Happened in Miami.

Along with his wife Myrna Katz Frommer, he is a professor in the MALS program at Dartmouth College where he teaches oral and cultural history. Dr. Frommer has also taught "Sports Journalism" and "Sports and Culture" at Dartmouth College, Adelphi and New York University.

Frommer’s work has appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, The Sporting News, Men's Health and other publications.

FROMMER SPORTSNET (syndicated) reaches a readership in the millions and is housed on Internet search engines for extended periods of time.
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Dr. Frommer is the Official Book Reviewer of Travel-Watch. 
*Autographed copies of Frommer books in mint condition are available .


Other Frommer sports related articles can be found at:   

Harvey Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz  Frommer are the authors of five critically acclaimed oral/cultural histories, professors at Dartmouth  College, and travel writers who specialize in cultural history, food, wine, and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. 

This Article is Copyright © 1995 - 2017 by Harvey Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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